Road Side Landscaping
The landscaping of the National and State Highways with trees is an important aspect of beautifying our country side. Landscaping of high ways does not mean only planting of trees; it is only one part of it Landscaping of a highway also includes all other measures which help enhance the beauty and fits it into the natural landscape of the area. Besides its engineering perfection, a highway must look aesthetic, and should not disturb the ecological aspect of the area too much. But, unfortunately in India, this aspect has been either neglected or done in a chumsy fashion. Planting of trees on highways is necessary not only for the purpose of beautification but also for utility and necessity. The main purpose of roadside trees is to provide shade during the summer. For this purpose, evergreen trees with spreading crowns should be selected. For wider roads, double rows can be planted, with the outer rows having shade trees and the inner rows with flowering trees.
The road side trees on the National Highways should not only provide shade but preferably also have some economic value. With this in .view many of the High ways have been planted with trees such as Tamarind, Mango, Eugenia operaculata etc. The roadside fruit trees will be subjected to damage by urchins and anti-social elements and in the process, may have less life expectancy. Eugenia operculata has one nuisance value as when its fruits ripe they drop on the road and make it dirty. The stain of this fruit is also difficult to remove from the cloths.
Neem, Mahua, are road side trees of economic value. The highway trees should be planted 12 m apart in the row and at least 5-6 m away from the edge of the roads, so that they get enough space for spreading and do not interfere with the traffic. If a road is an. wide as 30 m or more, double rows of trees should be planted, rows being spaced 10-12 m apart.
Some of the other methods of improving the roadside landscape may be suggested here. While constructing a new road it becomes necessary to excavate earth from the road side for the road embankment, as a result the road side develops some scars in the form of irregular ditches and burrow areas, which not only look ugly but also serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. It is suggested that such burrows and pits should be reshaped and formed into road side lakes, if needed by outlining the borders with brick or cement lining. The banks can be landscaped with a few beautiful trees..
If already some features such as a group of trees or a temple exists on the road side, this should be incorporated in the overall landscaping of the highway.